Middle distance athletes shine on Day Two
By Edison Jefford at Albion in association with the Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club
Winston Caesar added another accolade to his already impressive collection when he leaped with all his might yesterday to the Under-20 Boys’ Triple Jump record as the National Schools’ Track and Field Championships continues at the Albion Ground.
The Upper Demerara and Inter-Guiana Games’ national athlete had a best attempt of 13.73 metre to erase District counterpart, Curtis Gravesande’s mark of 13.54m, which was set in Georgetown three years ago at the schools’ competition at Bourda.
Corentyne’s Clavern Beresford with 13.22m and North Georgetown’s Jermaine Durant, who had 12.68m as his best attempt, finished second and third respectively behind Caesar who had placed second in the long jump and fourth in the 100m final.
The second day of the Track and Field competition certainly brought the energy that the Schools’ Championships is known to have as emerging prospects and established national junior athletes entertained a packed Community Centre Ground.
Alika Morgan, coming off back-to-back second place finishes in the first two stages of the 2009 South American 10km race, distinguished herself when she notched up comfortable wins in both the 800m and 1500m races on a dominant day for middle distance athletes.
South Georgetown’s, Morgan ran composed and relaxed without challenge in the 800m to record 2:27.3 seconds with Corentyne’s Melissa Albert in second with 2:34.4 and Beverly McCracken, representing the Rupununi in third with 2:36.5 seconds.
Morgan returned later in the day to demonstrate why she was the 2008 Sportswoman of the Year with a blistering pace in the 1500m. She won in 5:03.9 with Rupununi’s Betrice David second in 5:27.1 and Corentyne’s Melissa Alberts third in 5:32.9.
Usually the sprint events are the ones to ignite the crowd at the track and field meet, but with the 100m being run with little illumination Wednesday night, it was the middle distance events that were left for patrons, parents and enthusiasts to savour.
Host District, Corentyne’s very own, Carlon Halley gave his team reason to celebrate with gold medals in the Under-20 Boys’ 800m and 1500m events, even though he risked losing the latter after showboating before he had crossed the finish line.
Halley returned a time of 2:00.1 seconds in the 800m with Upper Demerara’s Tyshon Bentick in second with 2:01.6 and North Georgetown’s Joshua Griffith third with 2:02.1. The strong Halley was far from calling it a day with the 1500m looming.
He set a stiff pace from the beginning of the race that looked certain for him until Bentick, West Coast Berbice’s Quin George and South Georgetown’s Kevin Bailey emerged on the final turn to challenge for the gold down the final homestretch.
Halley began his usual antics about five metres before the finish with an interesting title lean for the gold ahead. He was forced to cut his show and rush for the top medal as George was just at a decimal behind him and Bailey also lurking in the shadow.
Halley’s lean was good enough to give him the gold medal in a fast 4:30.3 while George finished split seconds behind in 4:30.9 and Bailey third in 4:31.6. His showboating almost cost the athlete his second gold medal and Corentyne maximum points.
The Corentyne middle distance athlete is definitely an emerging talent and his performance made the right impression in a community that wholeheartedly support sport. Junior CARIFTA Games gold medallist, Jevina Straker was well received.
The national junior athlete, representing the East Georgetown District, added her name to the list of those who won double middle distance gold medals. Straker came out on top in the Under-16 Girls’ 800m and 1500m races after much hard work.
She won the 800m in 2:26.3 with Rupununi’s Pauline Ambrose second in 2:38.2 and West Coast Berbice’s, Nicola Bobb (2:41.5) third. Straker returned to take the 1500m in 5:12.7 coming from behind after a brutal pace was set for the first three laps.
She defeated West Coast Berbice’s Onecia Bacchus who ran 5:23.4 and West Demerara’s Onesia Moore, who returned 5:26.6 for third. Her time in the 800m was faster than Morgan’s time which could be interesting when the two clash in the near future.
Rupununi continued its tradition of churning out distance athletes with Daniel Felix thrashing his villager, Ricardo Martin’s 2007 record (4:36.4) that was set at the National Stadium. Felix held a late surge to win the 800m Boys’ Under-16 race in 4:29.7.
He won ahead of East Coast’s Malcolm Walcott, who had 4:31.1 and Kadeem Peters (4:31.5) in performances that were both under Martin’s record. Felix’s win broke the consistency of doubles that was first established with Upper Demerara’s, Shaquille Smartt.
The athlete from the defending track and field champions won the Under-14 Boys’ 800m and the 1500m races to set the tone for the other groups. He registered 2:23.3 to win the 800m and 4:48.6 to win the 1500m race in impressive debut performances.
Smartt topped Pomeroon’s Androne Best (2:23.4) and North Georgetown’s Orin Prince 2:25.5 in the 800m while he defeated East Coast’s Ornesto Thomas and Rupununi’s Eyaral Joseph, who both had times of 4:48.9 and 5:00.2 respectively in the race.
Poor lights at the Community Centre Ground last night forced an abrupt cancellation of the 200m finals that were scheduled to be completed as part of the programme for Day Two of the National Schools’ Track and Field Championships.
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